Changing The Waters

Submitted into Contest #57 in response to: Write a story about someone breaking a long family tradition.... view prompt

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Romance Drama

   Waters women have roots all the way back to America in the mid 1600s. The oldest known Waters was a woman named Isabel Waters. She was a strange woman of few words, and the other women of the small town on the coast of North Carolina had theories about her. 

   Isabel was widowed by her husband Thomas Waters at a young age. She had an amazing ability to reason. She was the only one able to reason with a notorious trouble maker around town named Fredrick White. Fredrick also happened to be best friend’s with Isabel’s daughter Catherine, but that wasn’t widely known since Cathrine had to work while Fredrick went to the local school. 

   Isabel was also able to reason with her bosses to let her live in their houses and let Catherine stay too. She was a maid. She cleaned houses for four different families in her time in North Carolina. All four of her bosses had been very strict with their previous employees. 

   Wives noticed their wealthy husbands trying to get her to come work for them. They suspected witchcraft to make Isabel look irresistible to men since they couldn’t fathom why anyone would be remotely interested in someone who looked like she did. 

   Then Elizabeth Grant accused her husband of cheating on her with Isabel Waters. He claimed this to be, telling that Isabel had a witch’s mark on her shoulder. It was, in fact, there. 

   Isabel Waters. 1627-1663. 

   Laurel Waters flipped through the book of her ancestors. Three hundred plus years of Waters’ women all written about in this book. It was falling apart and most of the pages were torn, but it was handwritten and special. 

   “I don’t know if I can go through with this,” she said. 

   “Go through with what?” her little sister Joan asked from across the room. “If this is about getting married, I’ve been saying that for months.” 

   Laurel sighed and gave a half-laugh, “No, Jo, I’m getting married. I love Dex. I meant I don’t know if I can take his last name.” 

   Catherine Waters quickly fled town after her mother was killed. Fredrick White went with her. They were sixteen, young, and in love. They got married shortly after they arrived in New York. 

   Only one thing was strange about their marriage - that Fredrick took Catherine’s last name. Catherine later recorded in the same journal she recorded her mother’s death that she wanted to keep the name to remember her parents by. The only memory she would ever have of her father since he died before she was born. 

   Fredrick disappeared one winter. No one knew why or where. He was never seen again. 

   Catherine and Frerick had four children, all girls. Their names were Isabelle, Katherine, Mary, and Alice. 

   “Well Mom’s gonna tell you to keep Waters because blah blah blah, family tradition matters. As the, trying to be, complete rebel of this family, I say you should do it.” Joan advised. 

   “So you’re definitely going to take the last name of whoever if you get married?” Laurel asked. 

   “Nah, I wanna keep my last name.” 

   Laurel looked at her sister curiously, “Thought you were the rebel in this family?” 

   Joan laughed, “Oh, I am. But I like my last name, much as I hate where I got it from.” She shrugged. “I think you should do it.”

   “Why break years of tradition though?” 

   Evangeline Waters traveled from New York to London in 1845. She was the great-granddaughter of Isabelle Waters. Evangeline was nineteen, but she was already widowed. Her husband John was a good man, but he didn’t know when to shut his mouth and died in a duel a few weeks prior. 

   After six weeks she arrived in London. She got a job at a perfume shop where she met Henry Davis. He was looking to get a perfume for the girl he fancied, and Evangeline helped him find the perfect one. It was vanilla and raspberries. 

   The perfume was loved by Henry’s girl so much that he came by the shop the next week with flowers for Evie. She accepted the gift as she closed up shop for the day. 

   She helped a girl the next day that came in trying to get a perfume because her guy had gotten one that smelled awful. When Evie asked what it was so she didn’t suggest it the girl replied it was vanilla and raspberries. 

   Henry stopped seeing his girl after a few more weeks. He had fallen hard for Evie. 

   Evie had only been in London for about two months and had learned she was pregnant. She started courting Henry, and he considered the child his own. Her name was Margarita. Henry, Evangeline, and Margarita Waters were a perfect family. 

   That is until four years later Henry cheated on Evie with another girl who left London after only two weeks of being there. Henry never forgave himself and never saw Evie or Peggy again. 

   “Because you obviously want to take his name or you wouldn’t be thinking about this.” Joan said. 

   “I’m going to get Mom’s opinion. She should be here any minute.” Laurel resolved. 

   “Then I’m leaving,” Joan announced. She got off of her sister’s bed and went out the door to the bedroom. 

   Laurel sighed from the floor where she was still flipping through the family book, knowing she couldn’t make Joan stay any longer than Jo had too when their mother was visiting. 

   “Be back by ten,” Laurel called out to her sister. She turned another few pages before her mother walked in and found her. 

   Lillian Waters moved her family that included her husband and her daughter, to Paris, France after their home was destroyed in a fire and her husband had been out of work for months. The year was 1967. 

   Lillian only knew a few basic words in French, but her husband Andre spoke it well since his family had roots there. Their little girl named Angel got sick shortly after they arrived in Paris, but luckily Andre got work so maybe things were looking up for them. 

   Months later, Lillian was still staying home to take care of Angel. But Angel passed away at the beginning of 1968, leaving her parents to mourn her.

   Andre became a drunk, and Lillian stayed at home all the time. She got a job in 1974 where she learned to speak French after years of being in the country.

   Jessamine Waters was born in 1976. 

   “The women of the Waters’ family have always been unlucky in love,” Laurel’s mother told the story of their family the same way she always had. “It’s lovely at first, but then our luck runs out. Isabel Waters was widowed. Catherine Waters’s husband disappeared. Evangeline Waters’s was widowed then cheated on. My mother married a-”

   “Mom! This is not helping considering I’m about to get married,” Laurel exclaimed. 

   Her mother only glared until Laurel said, “Sorry, Maman, but really, this isn’t helping.” 

   “I know, darling. But it’s true. Anyway, what was it you wanted to ask me? And where’s my other little girl?” 

   “Jo’s gone to her friends house,” Laurel lied. She knew that’s probably what Joan had done, but Jo hadn’t said where she was going so it was truly unknown. “I wanted to ask about taking Dex’s last name.” 

   “Why would you ask that?” 

   “I want to do it, Maman.” Laurel hadn’t realized it was exactly what she wanted until she outright told it to her mother. 

   Laurel guessed her mother had expected Joan to do this someday, considering Jo tried to be the absolute rebel. But her mother looked resigned that it was going to happen whether she liked it or not. 

   “Well, alright then.” 

   Jessamine Waters never knew about the older sister she’d had. She grew up in Paris, speaking French. When she spoke English she had a British accent just like her mother and father did. 

   She fell in love with a man named Antonio. He traveled the world for a job, and Jessa went with him. She never thought about her family’s terrible luck with men when she was with him.

   They had two little girls together, nine years apart in age. Their names were Laurel and Joanna. 

   The girls traveled with their parents. When Laurel was seventeen they spent a year in North Carolina, where Laurel stayed for college after her family left. 

   Jessa’s last stop in her travels was Savannah, Georgia. She and Antonio had been fighting for some time, but there they got divorced. Jessa decided to go back to Paris where she grew up, leaving her daughters. 

   In Paris she fell in love again, married another man and had a daughter named Sylvie after both her other daughters were grown.

   She had her heartbroken once more when her second husband left her. She never loved another man again. 

   Laurel Waters Wart was the first Waters woman to take her husband’s name. 

   She moved to Georgia from North Carolina where she went to college to take care of her little sister after both of their parents left the country. 

   There she met her neighbor named Dexter Wart. That was the first and only time she fell in love. 

   She had a daughter named Charlotte.

   Laurel never had her heart broken until her husband died in a car accident at the age of 67. After that she moved in with her daughter and daughter’s family where she lived the rest of her days. 

August 29, 2020 13:57

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12 comments

Zea Bowman
01:50 Sep 22, 2020

Wow! I was truly captivated by this story! Your descriptions were amazing, and the words seemed to flow together. You really have a knack for writing! Could you please come read a story (or stories) of mine? Thanks! Keep up the good work! :)

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Libby Carter
21:24 Sep 22, 2020

Thank you so much! Yes, I will go check out your stories!

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Maya W.
22:36 Oct 01, 2020

Hi Libby! I really enjoyed this story! I'm a bit of a name obsessed weirdo, but I love your names here, especially Jessamine/Jessa. I was actually gonna use Jessa for a story I'm planning on writing, haha. I love the fragmented thoughts and moments in time, it really adds to the suspense of me wondering how each girl's love life will fail. Nice job! Would you mind reading some of my stories here, too? Thanks!

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Libby Carter
23:51 Oct 14, 2020

Thank you so much! Yes, I’ll head over and read some of your stuff right now!

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Thom Brodkin
13:25 Sep 08, 2020

A very interesting story. I could even see there being a supernatural element to it. I really like the concept. You could probably expand it to a novella or novel. A very fun read. I used the same prompt and wrote a story called "Hope". If you'd like to give it a read I appreciate any feedback. Oh and a like if I earn it. :-)

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Libby Carter
21:28 Sep 08, 2020

Thank you so much! I just left a comment on your story!

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Sunny 🌼 🖤
13:32 Sep 05, 2020

Nice story, I liked the tone and getting to know all the Waters women and their ad luck.

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Libby Carter
14:55 Sep 05, 2020

Thank you so much!

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B. W.
14:24 Aug 29, 2020

I enjoyed this story it was a great one you should continue to make more stories and so i'm going to give this a 10/10

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Libby Carter
01:58 Aug 30, 2020

Thank you so much!

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B. W.
02:08 Aug 30, 2020

No prob ^^ i was also wondering if you could go check out "The camp" and "Not his fault" i'd love to see what you have to say

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Dhananjay Sharma
08:47 Sep 25, 2020

Simply beautiful! I am speechless. Kindly read mine and give your feedback. https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/contests/60/submissions/35763/ Hoping to collaborate with you.

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